2024 MLB Week One FAAB Insights

Which players should you spend your FAAB budget on?

As a father of three children under five years old, every day is a new adventure, where even the most mundane mornings can spark the most memorable moments. Driving my twin four-year-olds to school, we passed a pair of vehicles that had moved to the shoulder after an apparent fender-bender. From the back seat, my son piped up, “Dad, we need to call 9-1-1!”

The accident looked minor and fully under control, and it didn’t appear that anyone at the scene needed assistance, so I tried to explain that it wasn’t necessary. But he was dead set and determined that 9-1-1 needed to be called. There was no talking him out of it. So, I pretended to dial and talk to a fake 9-1-1 dispatcher, who sent out fake emergency services to this very minor accident on the shoulder of the parkway – and made sure to detail it loud enough for my son to hear in the back seat. And even though we didn’t really do much to contribute to the situation, I told him that I was proud of him for always looking to help other people.

“Yeah, Dad,” he rebuked smugly, “This superhero stuff is kind of my thing.”

Fantasy baseball isn’t superhero stuff, but I’m doing my best to take a page out of my son’s book this season and help out fantasy managers in need of FAAB advice. Every week, I’ll highlight a handful of players that are potentially available that could benefit fantasy managers, not only as short-term streaming options but as season-long adds as well.

This article will run every week, focusing on players who are between 20-25% rostered in most 12-team leagues and/or 25-50% rostered in 15-teamers. Every league is different, so we won’t be labeling player bids with any sort of recommended dollar amount but instead will use a four-tier investment rating system, ranging from a minimal spend to a potential difference-maker (or LEAGUE-WINNER, if you will).


Investment Rating System


In the first full week of the season, there are just two teams that are scheduled to take the field all seven days – the Chicago White Sox and the Kansas City Royals. On the flip side, the Milwaukee Brewers and Minnesota Twins play just five games this week. The other 26 squads play six games each. We’ve finally gotten to see each team play and have some idea of which players will have larger opportunities than originally predicted during draft season. Whether it’s additional at-bats, a spot in the rotation, or a high-leverage closer role, we want to adjust accordingly. Let’s dive in!









Oswaldo Cabrera ($$$): Currently only eligible in the outfield, he’ll gain CI/3B eligibility in due time. Cabrera is off to a fast start with six hits in his first two games, and he appears to be locked into every day playing time at third base for the New York Yankees. As long as he’s getting regular at-bats, he’s a really nice pickup (especially for teams who might have lost a third baseman like … Royce Lewis).

Victor Scott II ($$): Speed. That’s pretty much it here. Well, he did hit .323 in 66 games at AA last season, but that pales in comparison to the 94 stolen bases in 132 games across two levels in 2023. If he gets on, he’s running. But can he get on against MLB pitching?

Eddie Rosario ($$): He’s likely going to get a lot of at-bats this season (at least until James Wood is called up). Who else are the Nationals going to throw out there? Rosario still has bat-to-ball skills and if the volume is there, he’ll be a serviceable fifth outfielder in most formats.

Jesse Winker ($$): Dude was an All-Star a couple of years ago and could enjoy a renaissance while batting third in a Nationals order with decent bats in front of him. Winker is definitely worth a flyer if he’s going to get regular at-bats.

Nick Martini ($): Pitchers are shaken and Reds fans are stirred. Martini hit two bombs on Opening Day and should be a mainstay in the Cincinnati lineup any time they face a right-handed pitcher, at least until the team gets healthy. With 21 home runs in just under 500 at-bats last season in AAA and the MLB combined, the 33-year-old is worth a flyer with four games against right-handed starters next week.

Lawrence Butler ($): I hate to break it to shareholders, but Esteury Ruiz might be nothing more than a short-side platoon bat and late-game pinch-runner. If that’s the case, Butler becomes the most exciting Oakland outfielder on the roster.




Jared Triolo (3B – $$): Triolo batted seventh and played second base for the Pirates on Opening Day, and could see more action at the keystone in the near future with Ji Hwan Bae on the IL to start the year.

Josh Rojas (2B, 3B – $$): It appears that Rojas will be the starting third baseman for the Mariners. This is a guy who went for 23 stolen bases two years ago (before the rule change), so there’s a chance he could add some speed and batting average contributions with regular at-bats.

Cavan Biggio (1B, 2B, OF – $$): Here we go again. A home run on Opening Day could give the truthers hope (are there any left?) entering the 2024 season. If he starts hitting line drives, pay attention. The launch angle was concerning in years past, but if that’s corrected, he could be relevant.

Jorge Mateo (SS – $$): In the Opening Day starting lineup against a left-handed starting pitcher, Mateo went 1-for-3 with a double, a walk, and a stolen base. I think we all remember how Mateo was the best player in baseball last April before falling off sharply. Maybe the Baltimore speedster can recapture some Orioles magic to begin this year as well.

Nasim Nuñez (SS – $): The deepest of deep league sleepers – Nunez was claimed by the Nationals as a Rule-5 draft pick and batted .152 in spring training but still broke camp with the team. Why? Because he stole 52 bases in AA last season. He’s like a shortstop-eligible Victor Scott II with less playing time and can probably be claimed for just a dollar if you’re desperate for speed options early in the year.

Javier Báez (SS – $): Nobody wanted him this draft season. But, if he’s going to run (he swiped a bag in the opener against the White Sox), my interest is at least a little bit piqued.

Kyle Farmer (2B, 3B, SS – $): Farmer was the starting second baseman against a left-handed pitcher on Opening Day, and will likely be an everyday starter if Royce Lewis has to miss any time. With three-position eligibility, there’s nothing wrong with a boring .255 hitter with decent plate skills and a little bit of pop.




Harold Ramírez (UT – $): There’s opportunity for Ramirez in the wake of Jonathan Aranda’s injury, and with three games at Colorado next weekend, he could provide some cheap exposure to Coors.

Christian Bethancourt (C – $): Bethancourt ought to be splitting time with Nick Fortes in Miami, not that either will likely be fantasy relevant. If playing time is even, of the two I prefer Bethancourt.

Freddy Fermin (C – $): Pickings are awful slim at this time of year. Pretty much anybody with an opportunity for at-bats was drafted in two-catcher leagues. Fermin should be behind the dish relatively often, spelling Old Man Sal Perez, but his bat isn’t that impressive.




Starting Pitchers


Jared Jones ($$$$): Jones made the Pittsburgh Pirates roster after an impressive Spring Training during which he went 16.1 innings pitched without allowing a run. He is scheduled to pitch on Saturday evening against the Marlins and will have a finished stat line by the time this is published. Either he makes me look smart with a good line and his price skyrockets, or he makes me look silly with a dud and his price comes down a tad. No matter what, he should be on every waiver wire shortlist.

Emerson Hancock ($$$): Hancock looked shell-shocked in his cup of coffee in the majors last season, but the former first-round pick grades out with a couple of amazing secondaries and a serviceable fastball. Surrounded by really good starting pitchers in Seattle, hopefully Hancock will absorb some things and begin to tap into his massive potential. He ought to remain in the rotation until Woo returns, and who knows when that will be.

Garrett Crochet ($$$): Crochet might be legit, even if his team is decidedly not legit. He looked really good on Opening Day as he befuddled a sneaky good Tigers lineup. With his next pitching matchup scheduled against Atlanta, bidders may want to bench him this week and then run it back for his next start after that against Cleveland.

Luis Gil ($$): Perhaps the sexiest of all this week’s waiver pickups, Gil is slated for starts against Arizona and Toronto this week. He’s got some hype behind him, but I think it needs to be seen at the major league level first. Someone in your league will take the risk.

Ronel Blanco ($): With two games this week against Toronto and Texas, it’s not the best two-step from a matchup standpoint, but he’s starting for a good team. Might be worth a low-dollar streaming stash in the coming weeks.

Javier Assad ($): Not really that interesting of an arm, but he will face the Rockies in Wrigley on Tuesday, so it’s a nice matchup. You could do worse.


Relief Pitchers


Kevin Ginkel ($$$): Until Paul Sewald returns from the IL (and maybe even after that), most around the industry have assumed that Ginkel will ascend to the closer role.

Jason Foley ($$): As we all expected, the first Detroit Tigers save opportunity of the season went to… Jason Foley? Welp. For those of us holding shares of Alex Lange, we’re hoping that it was just a matchup choice and that Lange will continue the rest of the season as the closer, but there’s a puncher’s chance that this is at least a committee. Don’t overpay.

Yimi García ($$): The de facto closer in Toronto until one or both of Jordan Romano and Erik Swanson return.

Aroldis Chapman ($): Bednar is active but wasn’t available for a 12th-inning save on Opening Day. Maybe, just maybe, Chapman has worked himself into a closer committee with the incumbent and fan favorite?

Mark Leiter Jr. ($): A speculative add for saves, Leiter Jr. was good enough last season to enter the closer conversation for the Cubs, but never broke through. He was effective on Opening Day while Adbert Alzolay took a blown save. It’s hard to imagine that Alzolay has a short leash, but Leiter would be a candidate to close if a change was made.

Brett Ford

Born and raised in #Birdland. Some days you win, Some days you lose, Some days it rains.

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